Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: March 28, 2020
Miles Logged: 1617
States Chased: IL, IA
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
First tornado of the 2020s

Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:


Started watching this system out a few days. Plenty of things to like. Originally I was targeting Northeast Arkansas, but eventually started thinking Illinois. The shear was pretty insane in Illinois, and the NAM especially advertised very good shear vectors.I decided I’d leave after work on Friday and head to Keokuk, IA for the night. On the way up, I ran into a pretty good elevated storm near Jefferson City, MO.

Chase Day

Woke up in Keokuk with clearing to my southwest. Everything was seemingly coming together. Then it happened, a conveyor belt of elevated storms in Illinois in the afternoon. I had gone to Galesburg where the surface temperature was a cold 59 degrees. I met up with Chrystal and Lorraine who both socially distanced in their own vehicles.

Eventually i figured we would need to get a bit west to have any chance. We headed back over to Burlington, IA. Meanwhile, back in Illinois, they decided to tornado warn one of the storms that were previously elevated. Apparently the storm had rooted somewhat, as it rocketed away from me at 60 mph.

Supercells near Dark

I made it back to Galesburg well after the first tornado warning had departed the area. Apparently there was a brief tornado with it, but I did not witness that. I did, however, notice there was storms going up to the southwest. So I headed to the west side of town, and eventually to the west and got on the storm. The next hour or so is a blur, with some terrible dirt roads and rocketing storms.

Eventually I got back to I-74 at Woodhull. The storm was wrapping pretty intensely at that point, so I kept up with it.

Cambridge, Illinois Tornado

Heading north on Illinois Route 82 towards Cambridge it happened. In the darkness of twilight I could barely make out a cone coming down. It took me a few seconds to realize it was the tornado! Before I knew it, it had disappeared. The Cambridge, Illinois tornado roped out pretty quickly.

I kept up with the storm to I-80 before giving up at the Love’s truck stop there. I gassed up and headed to Des Moines for the night.